Are there scripture passages the Church has defined?

Hi all

I’ve heard priests and apologists saying that the Church has defined, or made dogma, only a small number of scriptural passages. However, I’ve heard all sorts of different numbers; 4 passages, 8 passages, 5 passages. And, no one has ever listed all of them or said where that information can be found. So, is there a list of these passages or are they found by examining various church documents so that one person might say this is defined, and another might argue that it is not dogma, but one of many interpretations? Which passages do you think the Church asks us to interpret in a particular way and in no other way?




Sacred Scripture is **the speech of God **as it is put down in writing under the breath of the Holy Spirit.


In Sacred Scripture, the Church constantly finds her nourishment and her strength, for she welcomes it ** not** as human word, "but as what it really is, the Word of God."

[quote][FONT=“Palatino Linotype”]In the sacred books,
the Father who is in heaven
comes lovingly :heart: to meet his children,
and talks with them.


[INDENT]:bible1: “How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand …” Psalms 139:17-18b[/INDENT]

[INDENT]:bible1: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.” Isaiah 55:8[/INDENT]

[INDENT]:bible1: “So shall **my word **be that goeth forth out of **my **mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which **I **please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto **I **sent it.” Isaiah 55:11[/INDENT]

[INDENT]:bible1: “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but **my words **shall not pass away.” Matthew 24:35[/INDENT]

[INDENT]:bible1: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” John 1:1[/INDENT]

"And the

was made flesh,
and dwelt among us,
and we saw his glory;
the glory as it were of the
only begotten of the Father,
full of grace and truth."
John 1:14

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Sacred Scripture as the Word of God is infinitely rich and to “define” a passage is to limit the limitless.

That is why Jesus left us the Catholic Church, Her Teaching Magisterium and Sacred Tradition as well as Sacred Scripture, as a complete package.

“But there are also many other things which Jesus did; were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.” (Jn 25:21)

Sancta Maria, Mater Dei, Ora Pro Nobis Peccatoribus!


*Amen . . . I love that passage from John . . . thanks for sharing . . . *

[RIGHT]. . . all for Jesus+[/RIGHT]

Please explain, as this appears to contradict what you said following it. How do we get a Trinity if there can be no “defining” of what is implicit in the text?

The Church defines doctrines, citing Scripture as appropriate. It does not “define Scriptures” in the sense of saying “this verse means this and nothing else.” So, for example, when we acknowledge the Real Presence we are saying that the John 6 discourse is to be taken literally - but that does not mean it does not also have rich layers of additional meanings to be explicated through the centuries.

'zat make sense?

Yes, but only so far as it pertains to “and nothing else.” Defining a doctrine based on Scripture has the same effect as defining what the passage means, but I agree with you, it does not limit it.

To use a flagrantly ridiculous example just for illustration, if you have a doctrine that describes our Lord’s nature as both human and Divine, such a doctrine would preclude interpreting John 10:9 (I am the door….) to mean that Jesus was made of wood and had two hinges on one side and a latch on the other. The effect of the doctrine requires (correctly) that the passage be taken metaphorically. So in that sense, a sense that doctrine and Scripture must not conflict, defining one defines the other.

I guess one example I was thinking of is this passage:

Matthew 16:17-19 (New International Version)

Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven. And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”

I’ve heard priests and apologist state that we, as Catholics, are to interpret that as meaning that Peter is the rock on which Christ will build His church and that He has given Peter authority to determine things regarding faith and morals. We are not to interpret it as merely an affirmation of Peter’s profession that Jesus is the Christ. We may find other meanings, but not any meaning that contradicts what the Church declares it to mean. In other words, this refers to apostolic succession and authority. Then the person will usually say something like, the Church has only done that with a few pieces of Scripture.

So, I’m wondering it that is true, and if it is true, what other passages from Scripture has the Church done that with.

So, I’m wondering if the o

Perfect! Thank you!

Sancta Maria, Mater Dei, Ora Pro Nobis Peccatoribus!


That document is very confusing to me. It provides 3 different lists, none of them match. That begs the question “Which, if any, is correct?”

If one truly believes that Scripture + Tradition + Teaching of the Church forms one “complete package,” it doesn’t seem reasonable that you could go and find a list of “this is what these Scripture passages mean” devoid of anything in Tradition or Teachings. As NHInsider pointed out, the Church defines doctrines, and it is through the Scriptural bases for those doctrines that the Scriptures become “defined,” as the Council of Trent section of the document shows.

Take Canon 2 on Baptism for example.

“Canons on the Sacrament of Baptism,” canon 2.
If anyone shall say that real and natural water is not necessary for baptism, and on that account those words of our Lord Jesus Christ: “Unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Spirit [John 3:5]” are distorted into some sort of metaphor: let him be anathema.

You could think of it this way:

We have (by Tradition) always used water in the Sacrament of Baptism, and define (the Teaching) that it requires real and natural water, based on the Word of Jesus recorded in John 3:5.

The doctrine is defined; it meshes with both Tradition and Scripture, and the effect is to define what John 3:5 actually means by requiring the literal interpretation of the sentence.

Thanks Nita, I think that was exactly the kind of thing I wanted. It would also be nice to know when or in what Church document that occured, but I may be asking too much. I sort of suspected there would be more than one “list” if they were compiled by different apologists or theologians, since the Church would never officially say, okay here’s the list of Scripture Passages…

DOShea, I went to Jimmy Aikins website, and he put it this way. “The Church has very very few Bible verses whose meaning it has addressed infallibly.” That is a good way of putting it.

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